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BMC polls: Has fight between BJP & Shiv Sena relegated opposition Cong, NCP, MNS to background

Mumbai: Nearly 56 per cent voters exercised franchise across 10 municipal corporations in Maharashtra, including the all-important Mumbai civic body BMC which recorded a 55 per cent turn-out on Tuesday.

BJP and its bickering ally Shiv Sena

BJP and its bickering ally in the state government Shiv Sena, who could not form an alliance for the civic poll in the megapolis or elsewhere this time, fought keenly, lashing out freely at each other during the bitter campaign.

“56 per cent voters exercised franchise across ten municipal corporations in Maharashtra, including the
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which recorded a 55 per cent turn-out,” state election commission officials said.

The turn-out for 11 Zilla Parishads and 118 panchayat samiti polls was better than in the cities, at 69 per cent, state election officials said this evening.

The polling was peaceful across the state.

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Civic polls: 17,331 candidates are in fray for 3,210 seats

A total of 17,331 candidates are in the fray for 3,210 seats up for grabs in this second phase of civic/local body polls in Maharashtra, being seen as “mini general election”.

The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like MNS and AIMIM to the background.

Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls included Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.

As many as 43,160 polling booths were set up and around 2.76 lakh election staff and equal number of police personnel were deployed for the conduct of the elections.

More than 1.80 crore electorate were eligible to exercise their franchise in the zilla parishads and panchayat samitis while the total number of urban voters stood at 1.95 crore.

Will BMC election decide fate of Devendra Fadnavis government?

In Mumbai, there are 2,275 candidates and 92 lakh voters. The outcome in Asia’s largest civic body, run by the Shiv Sena with the BJP’s support for the last two decades, will decide the fate of the Devendra Fadnavis government.

Retaining BMC vital for Shiv Sena

Retaining the 227-member BMC is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has been its political heartland since its formation in 1966.

The campaign turned into a slugfest between the two parties, throwing up the question if there would be a parting of ways post-election.

The counting will take place on February 23. BJP, which had been a junior partner of Sena before it
gained the upper hand through the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, declined to accept the number of seats offered by the Sena in this poll, setting the stage for a high-voltage electioneering that saw charges and counter-charges flying thick.

The BJP has its eyes set on gaining power in BMC, one of world’s largest city bodies with an annual budget of over Rs 37,000 crore, undeterred by Sena’s threat of pulling the plug on the state government, which its chief put on “notice period” shortly after the campaign took off.

The BJP flagged “transparency” in civic administration as the central slogan while the Sena campaigned on its performance in BMC over the last two decades.

Larger civic amenities like better roads, water supply and measures to contain pollution were drowned in the political cacophony of the campaign.



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